…by Ruth Park.
Meet the Darcy family. They live in the inner city slum of Surry Hills in the 1940s. There is Hughie Darcy, the breadwinner who wishes he could live in the bush rather than be stuck in the city and who comes home drunk after work on most nights. His wife Margaret Darcy is a homemaker and a devout Catholic who appears to be strong and yet, puts up with Hughie even at his most frustrating times. They have two daughter Rowena ‘Roie’ Darcy and Dolour Darcy and a son who went missing years ago. Roie is at a stage in her life where she is looking for love and hopefully a happily-ever-after story while Dolour is a bright little girl hoping that education can see her out of Surry Hills. The Darcys also sublet part of their house to Patrick Diamond, an Irishman who is friendly with them every day of the year except for St. Patrick’s Day given that he is a Protestant, and Miss Sheily who is a person of intrigue given that she has a disabled son but is unmarried. The book follows the trials and tribulations of the Darcy family and the people in their lives. Despite the hardships of the family and the community in general, there is always a sense of hope.
I read this book for my book club and found out later that it is part of a trilogy. However, this book manages to stand well on its own too and there is enough closure to not have to read the others. However, after reading it, you do want to read the rest of the books because of the characters and just how much you like them. It is a very character-driven book and each and every one of the characters is interesting in their own way. Despite their several flaws, you cannot help but like them. You feel their anger and their frustration. You feel their pain and their sense of hopelessness. And yet, all along, you are constantly rooting for them. It’s a lovely book about life, love, family, and the ups and downs that come with it all.
Until next time,